We will discuss audience - was this a work intended to be read? To what extent is the author performing for an imagined future readership? Is that a wink at us buried in a book from decades ago? We will discuss self-knowledge - do we trust the account as given? What are they hiding from us? Have they completely lost the plot of their life and the lives around them? And of course, we will discuss what thrills - cameos from notables? Salacious asides? That single sentence from 1935 which you still hear ringing in your ears, weeks after reading it?
This month we'll discuss Cees Nooteboom's reflection "on the life of the mind through a reexamination of books, music, art, travel, and gardening," 533 Days.
Though a tireless explorer of distant cultures, Cees Nooteboom has been returning for more than forty years to the Spanish island of Menorca. It is in his house on this “island of the wind,” with a study full of books and a garden taken over by cacti and many insects, that the 533 days of writing take place. The result is neither a diary nor a set of movements of the soul organized by dates but rather a “book of days,” with Nooteboom’s observations about what is immediately around him, his love for Menorca, and his thoughts on the world, on life and death, on literature and oblivion. Every impression opens windows onto vast horizons: The Divine Comedy and the books it generated, Borges’s contempt for Gombrowicz, the death of David Bowie, the endless flight of the Voyagers, the repetition of history as tragedy but never as farce. Nooteboom resists the noise of current events yet he must return to them several times, skeptically contemplating the threat of a disintegrating Europe. Reading 533 Days is like having a conversation with an extraordinary mind.
Reserve your place with a $5 voucher, redeemable on the night of the book club meeting on any product in store.